Saturday, March 28, 2020
In the long run, the extraordinary concentration of COVID-19 cases in New York threatens an economy and a social fabric that were already unraveling before the outbreak began. The city’s job growth rate has slowed and was slated to decline further, noted the New York City Independent Budget Office. Critically, New York’s performance in such high wage fields as business services, finance, and tech was weakening compared to other American metros. Half of all the city’s condos built since 2015 lie unsold as oligarchs, drug lords, celebrities, and others lose interest in luxury real estate now that cash, much of it from China, is drying up.
But it’s not just the ultrarich who are heading to the exits. Even before the virus hit, large urban centers like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago were losing population; over 90% of all population growth since 2010 had taken place in the suburbs or exurbs. Even millennials, as demonstrated in a Heartland Forward report, are moving away from the supposed “magnets” of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, to the sprawling cities and towns in the middle of the country. Renowned demographer William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution indicates that the greatest net migration losses in recent years has occurred in New York. The growth in the migration of such prized workers is now two to three times faster in Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Grand Rapids than in regions around New York, Los Angeles, or Washington, D.C.